In 2009 it was suggested that a social run around the Bushy parkrun 5k course a few weeks out from the London Marathon would be a great little motivator for those long runs and also to get to share a long run with people who are running different distances – so not just for the 20+ miler club! Not The London Marathon was born! You can read about the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 events elsewhere on this blog.
The ‘rules’ are as follows…
- Start around 9am
- Start at the Bushy parkrun current finish line.
- Run the Bushy parkrun course as many times as you like, looping round the start line and finishing line trees.
- Anyone can join in and run any number of laps at any time at any speed, either alone or in groups.
- No official timing, time yourself if you’d like.
- Friends and supporters congregate at the parkrun finish line to give encouragement and support, or maybe just enjoy an alfresco picnic/refreshments and a social.
- People can run as many laps as they like.
- It’s Not the London Marathon, cos it’s not a race, it’s not a marathon distance for everyone, and anyone can join in anytime.
The date was set for Sunday 9 March and a large number of us (around 70) found ourselves on the ‘old startline’ for Bushy parkrun. After a quick photograph we all set off to run anything from 3 miles and upwards back and forth on the Bushy parkrun route.
The weather forecast was looking promising in the days before the event and come Sunday morning the sky was clear and the temperature rising well into double figures. Brilliant.
Last year we had one crazy fool (Roger B.) who ran 26.2 miles and made it his own ‘Not The London Marathon’ before smashing out an amazing race in London a few weeks later. This time with there being talk of runs up to 20 miles there was one man, Michael L. who fancied a slightly bigger bite of the cherry!
I had a lovely run doing four laps chatting with Tom Morgan (the swine who beat me in the Bushy parkrun points competition a few years ago) and when he decided enough was enough I pushed on for a final 5k.
Just as I reached the end of my 5th ‘lap’ my watched beeped at 2 hours and said that I’d run 15.8 miles. That would do nicely. It was my longest run since Hawaii in October last year and I felt pretty good – perhaps I’m slowly getting back to fitness.
Retiring to the awesome support and picnic area which was right by the course a large group of us enjoyed the sunshine, chatted, ate, drank and cheered on runners who were getting the miles in. It was a perfect day for it.
Sharon and I headed off shortly before 1pm as Michael was still ticking off the miles…
After a lovely bacon sandwich for lunch Sharon and I chatted and decided that it would be good to head back to the park and offer a bit more support – well, it was such a beautiful day after all. I stuck on a pair of shorts and thought if he fancied some company that I’d be happy to run a 5k loop with him.
When we arrived Michael had done about 40 miles so was well and truly on the home straight. I offered some support, he accepted and off we went. There wasn’t a great deal of conversation – just a bit of friendly companionship.
After my 5k was up a parkrun friend of ours (Rodney) jumped in for the penultimate lap and whilst I recovered with a bag of crisps and a can of coke I decided to offer my services for the final 5k. The offer was accepted and as the sun set and the park dropped into darkness we headed back towards the finish, with every step getting Michael closer to his 50 mile goal.
As we rounded the final tree Michael ran off to be mobbed by his harem of women (well, his wife Rachel as well as Sharon and Zoe) and Rodney. He did it. 50.13 miles logged on his GPS watch and complete respect from the rest of us.
As Sharon has now put it, Not The London Marathon should now be known as ‘Not The London (Ultra) Marathon.’